Just three episodes in and the biggest fight of the season could be going down tonight.
Ultimate Fighting Championship's (UFC) reality television baby The Ultimate Fighter (TUF), is now in full swing with two episodes in the books and and the elimination fights inside the house already underway.
Last week's broadcast showcased the fighters moving into the TUF house to earn a shot at the coveted "six-figure" UFC contract, as well as James Vick smashing Daron Cruickshank to advance to the quarterfinals. You can get up to date on all that by clicking here.
Tonight's show will feature the fight chosen by Dominick Cruz -- after Urijah Faber and his squad froze when they were given the chance to -- Justin Lawrence vs. Cristiano Marcello. The former is a near 2-to-1 favorite over the latter but that's why they fight, Maniacs.
MMAmania.com has a live blog of all the night's action, starting at 10 p.m. ET, after the jump.
THE ULTIMATE FIGHTER 15 EPISODE THREE LIVE BLOG
Broadcast is live.
We start with live look-ins to both competitors in tonight's match-up. They're getting taped up and Lawrence looks intense while Marcello looks like he's in a jovial mood.
Recap of last week's episode, which saw James Vick defeat Daron Cruickshank via knee tap knockout. That shit was pretty, folks.
They also show the utter embarrassment of Urijah Faber's team completely backing down to the challenge when it was presented to them. Faber asked, "Who's ready right now?" His question was met with awkward silence.
Do you want to be a fuggin' fighter?
Members of Team Cruz gloat at how hilarious it was that Team Faber failed to answer the call. Team Faber says, "Yeah? Well do it again and it will be different next time!"
Chris Tickle of Team Cruz is the one leading the charge against Team Faber and their complete lack of courage when given the chance to step up to fight Lawrence. He throws Faber under the bus, too, though, so it all works out.
It's now shown that Tickle is the goon of the household, as he's wearing a gas mask for reasons that are still unclear. He just wants people to smile, apparently. He tries to pull a prank on Faber by moving his parking sign but breaks the damn thing off its base and just takes it in the gym.
Cruz gives his seal of approval with a simple warning ... keep your guard up.
Time for a training montage as we hear Cruz explain his reasoning behind picking Marcello. He put his number one pick against the Brazilian jiu-jitsu ace because he feels as though Marcello is one of the stronger members of Team Faber and he wanted to take him out. Doing so is like crippling the entire team. Or something like that. Whatever.
Tickle is shown weaseling out of practice by claiming he has the bubble guts. Cruz expresses his displeasure and gives him a stern talking to, even though he says that's not what he's doing. Tickle tells the camera he was pissed about this little dressing down but to Cruz's face says he's sorry and hopes he didn't upset his coach.
Team Faber gets their chance to hit the TUF gym and we learn that the game plan for Marcello is to use his vaunted submission game to essentially fake Lawrence out and just when he thinks Marcello will be taking the fight to the floor, he'll bang it out.
Faber's team notices the sign in the gym and they bag on Cruz's ability to pull pranks. They get back at them by putting duct tape on Cruz's picture to make him look like Count Dracula.
The teams cross each other coming in and going out of the gym and the first spat happens between Tickle (of course) and Cofer. They argue over Cofer walking through a doorway with his arms out because that's how Tickle apparently walks. Tickle notices and they verbally spar.
Live look-in to Lawrence and Marcello warming up. 18 minutes until they fight live.
Cruz coaches up Lawrence by bringing in Wilson Reis and using him to show Lawrence the Brazilian jiu-jitsu style takedowns Marcello will be looking for.
Or so they think.
After the session ends, Cruz notices the prank Team Faber answered back with and simply laughs it off. "At least they made me the coolest character on Sesame Street," he says.
Naturally, they answer back by making a thong and putting it on Faber's ass chin on his picture. It doesn't go over when Faber is alerted to it, which happens when he tries to manufacture more drama by kicking Cruz out of the gym when he runs 10 minutes over.
Except he doesn't really kick anyone out, he just holds the door for them. Cruz thanks him and walks on by.
Seriously. That's what happened.
Justin Larwence: 156-pounds
Cristiano Marcello: 156-pounds
Now they go live and we get look-ins to both locker rooms one more time. Except it's not actually live because their hands aren't wrapped, which is what was shown "live" at the beginning of the episode.
Nicely done, UFC/FX.
One more commercial break before it's time to dance.
Now they really are live and here we go.
Justin Lawrence vs. Cristiano Marcello (155-pound limit)
Round one: Lawrence comes out circling with big steps in both directions. Faber yelling at Marcello to feint and he's not because he's a solid four feet away. Distance is key here and Lawrence is jumping in and out, just as he was told. They're both maintaining distance and moving in and out. Lawrence is the only one landing anything of note so far. Marcello finally gets in on him and lands, enough so that Lawrence bails out. And by bails out, I mean he literally turns around and runs away. Faber tells Marcello to find a way to get to Lawrence but immediately backs off and tells him to get his chin down, which is good advice considering how high up he's hanging it. Lawrence is having troubling finding it but he's starting to get there. The first round closes and that looked like a 10-9 for Lawrence.
Round two: Lawrence comes out throwing strikes and Faber is literally screaming at Marcello to put his chin down, which he doesn't do. That's just a flaw he's simply not going to correct, no matter how many times his coach tells him to. Let's see if it costs him. Lawrence is unloading with spinning back kicks and missing. Marcello refuses to engage the openings, though, and it's losing him this fight. I think Faber has now said "CHIN DOWN" more than total punches have been thrown. This is terrible. Marcello goes in hard to exchange but he keeps his head so high it finally costs him. Lawrence tags him and he falls. Not much of a knockdown but this round is clearly Lawrence's. Finally, after Marcello failed to put his chin down despite being told a million times, Lawrence catches him with a hard left hand and he's knocked out. Should have put that chin down, buddy.
Final result: Justin Lawrence def. Cristiano Marcello via Marcello not putting his chin down (knockout) in round two
In the post-fight interview with Jon Anik Lawrence calls Marcello a legend. Dude, if he was a legend, he wouldn't be in the TUF house getting knocked out by a guy who is 3-0.
Marcello says he wants to fight inside the Octagon despite the loss and he hopes the UFC lets him fight in Brazil. Don't hold your breath, sir.
Time for the next fight announcement. A cameraman falls down trying to walk by. That's par for the course here.
The next fight will be ...
See you in seven, y'all.